Moving from Pandemic to Endemic
The Re-Entry team is happy to announce that starting March 20th, 2022, masks will become optional within the church building. We have been carefully following the numbers of Covid cases which have now met the previously determined benchmarks of steadily declining cases, decreasing percentage of test positivity and declining numbers of hospitalizations and deaths. This doesn’t mean that Covid has been eradicated and that we no longer have to be vigilant.
The difference between an epidemic, a pandemic and an infection that has become endemic is based on the disease’s rate of spread. A pandemic is an epidemic of an infectious disease that has spread across a large region (multiple continents or worldwide) affecting a substantial number of individuals. Epidemics are generally limited to a particular region and its spread can be contained or expected. A pandemic is international and “out of control”. A disease outbreak becomes endemic when it is consistently present but more predictable or stable in numbers (like the seasonal flu). Current thinking is that Covid will be with us for many years, but because of vaccines and newer treatment options will become more manageable and therefore we will move out of the “pandemic” state.
We are continuing to encourage social distancing by using every other pew when in the sanctuary and by trying to stay at least 3 feet away from others when socializing. We will continue using the individual communion sets and individually place the offering in the containers at the front of the sanctuary and in the narthex to minimize sharing common surfaces. However, you will notice that the Bibles have been returned to the pews and the hymnals no longer need to be left on the seat to “air out” after use. We are holding off a bit longer on resuming coffee hour or any kind of food service within the church. Gradually we hope all these things will be back as they were before.
We are encouraging individual responsibility for keeping everyone safe. If you develop symptoms please get tested and if you should test positive and you have been at church please notify the office. Please stay at home if you are not feeling well – services will continue to be available via social media and/or the church website for the foreseeable future. As always we wish to do no harm while welcoming all to God’s house. We will be a mask affirming congregation so that those who wish to continue wearing masks will feel as comfortable as those who feel safe without one.
We will continue to monitor the numbers and will make changes to these guidelines as warranted.